We are pleased to announce MSc by research project in “Low Cost Recycled Carbon/Glass Fibre based Sandwich Composites for Electric Cars/vehicles and Aerospace Sector”. This project aims to utilise recycled carbon/glass fibre composites (derived from the end of life waste components from aerospace and automotive composite structures) to produce low cost secondary structural components. Read more Read less

The extensive use of the carbon/glass fibre composites in aerospace sector, wind turbine blades, marine sector has given rise to a challenge of disposing these composites at the end of their life. This challenge also offer an excellent opportunity to extract recycled carbon/glass fibres which can be available at much lower cost than the virgin/original glass/carbon fibres. In many cases the carbon/glass fibres extracted from discarded composites (from wind turbine blade, aircraft frame etc.) at the end of life can still offer significantly good mechanical properties. Such fibres can offer ideal solution for the low cost manufacturing of lightweight components for automobile industry, in particular for the electric cars industry. The electric cars are rapidly gaining popularity in automotive markets in Europe, America and Asia. However they still have relatively low driving range due to the limited battery life. The low cost, lightweight automotive components (such as door frames, bumper, trunk, hood, floor panel, car roof), manufactured from recycled composites can significantly reduce the weight of electric car resulting in longer driving range while keeping low cost for the electric car.

This project will focus on using recycled carbon/glass fibres derived from discarded composites in combination with the recycled thermoplastics polymer such as polypropylene and PET. We will develop efficient manufacturing methods for recycled carbon/glass fibres and recycled thermoplastics using compression moulding (similar process to sheet moulded compound); the manufacturing process will be optimised to minimise the thermal degradation of the recycled plastics so as to maximise the strength/modulus of the new recycled component. We will develop a scaled down version of prototype of electrical vehicle composite component such as car roof panel, door frame or floor panel. We will also develop sandwich composite structures using recycled rigid polyurethane foam components and skin from recycled carbon/glass fibres; such sandwich composite panel can offer much higher stiffness and bending rigidity needed for range of structural components used in electric vehicles as well as secondary structural components in aerospace industry. The composite manufacturing and testing will be carried out using the world class composites manufacturing and testing facilities available at the Enhanced Composites and Structures Centre, School of Aerospace, Transport & Manufacturing at Cranfield University.

What will the student learn during MSc Training?

The student will learn the following techniques/skills
• Use and processing of recycled carbon/glass fibres
• Compression moulding, autoclave based high pressure manufacturing, injection moulding/extrusion of thermoplastics recycled carbon/glass fibres composites
• Electric Vehicle components materials selection, design and manufacturing
• Mechanical testing of the composites vehicle components such as flexural test, low velocity and high velocity impact, heat deflection of the composite components
• Sandwich composites manufacturing from recycled fibres and polymer, shear and 3 point bending tests

Future Job prospects:

Innovative recycled composites manufacturing and testing techniques will be highly useful for job opportunities in the automotive industries like, Nissan, BMW, Rolls Royce, Red Bull (formula one team), Jaguar Land Rover, Bentlee as well as overseas automotive companies like Mahindra, India; BYD, Beijing Electric Vehicle Corp, ZhiDou, and Shanghai Auto in China.

At a glance

  • Application deadline30 Sep 2019
  • Award type(s)MSc by Research
  • Duration of award1 year
  • EligibilityUK, EU, Rest of World
  • Reference numberSATM0078


Dr Sameer S Rahatekar and Prof Krzysztof K Koziol, Enhanced Composites & Structures Centre, Cranfield University, UK

Industrial advisor: Dr Jinhu Chen, Cambridge Nanosystems, Cambridge CB5 8HY

Entry requirements

Applicants should have an equivalent of first or second class UK honours degree or equivalent in a related discipline in engineering or science (chemistry/physics). The ideal candidate should have some understanding in the area of materials science, mechanical engineering (or related field), manufacturing, chemistry or physics background. The candidate should be self-motivated, have good communication skills for regular interaction with other stakeholders, with an interest for industrial research.


The student needs to support the MSc by Research tuition fees (£9,000/year for UK or EU student, and £18,500/year for overseas students) and the living expenses (approximately £800-£1000 per month). The cost for running the composites manufacturing and testing experiments and facilities cost will be supported by the Enhanced Composite and Structures Centre at Cranfield.

Cranfield Doctoral Network

Research students at Cranfield benefit from being part of a dynamic, focused and professional study environment and all become valued members of the Cranfield Doctoral Network. This network brings together both research students and staff, providing a platform for our researchers to share ideas and collaborate in a multi-disciplinary environment. It aims to encourage an effective and vibrant research culture, founded upon the diversity of activities and knowledge. A tailored programme of seminars and events, alongside our Doctoral Researchers Core Development programme (transferable skills training), provide those studying a research degree with a wealth of social and networking opportunities.

How to apply

If you are eligible to apply for this research studentship please complete the online application form.

For further information please contact:

Dr. Sameer S Rahatekar,

Email: S.S.Rahatekar@cranfield.ac.uk,

Phone: +44 (0)1234 750111 extension 4685